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Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo and the executive director of the foundation that bears his sister’s name, is seeking to be appointed guardian for a New York man who was left with a severe brain injury after a home accident.
The announcement was made by the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, which confirmed that attorney Christopher Johnson has filed with the Supreme Court for New York a petition seeking Schindler’s appointment.
At issue is the health and future for Gary Harvey, a Chemung County resident who was injured in a home accident in 2006.
The accident left Harvey with a profound brain injury, and his spouse, Sara Harvey, sought guardianship, only to be rejected by the Chemung County Supreme Court. The court eventually appointed the county department of social services.
According to the foundation, Sara Harvey has been fighting the county in court ever since. So far, however, courts have kept the county in charge of Harvey’s case, even though an ethics committee from the hospital where Harvey was staying recommended that he be deprived of food and liquid, which essentially would kill him.
While the foundation says the court rejected that request, it has continued to rule that county officials are in charge of Harvey’s life.
“I have raised the question many times, ‘How can Chemung County, guardian of Mr. Harvey, be acting in his best interest when they, in fact, tried to kill him?’ From all indications, it appears that Mr. Harvey has been warehoused and denied the opportunity to receive the care and rehabilitative services that would benefit his condition,” stated Bobby Schindler.
The foundation hopes the court will recognize that Harvey deserves the chance to receive aggressive therapy and rehabilitation, and Schindler’s experience with brain injured persons would be of help.
|Gary and Sara Harvey (Photo: Help Bring Gary Home)
WND earlier profiled the case of Harvey, a Vietnam-era veteran in Horseheads, N.Y., who fell down a flight of steps Jan. 21, 2006, and suffered a traumatic brain injury that put him in a vegetative state.
His wife, Sara, had him placed in a nursing home so he would receive care while she returned to her full-time job.
But following a family dispute over Gary’s assets, State Supreme Court Judge Robert Mulvey determined that Sara Harvey was not a suitable guardian for her husband and designated the county as legal guardian, Elaine Renoire, spokeswoman for the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse, or NASGA, who is familiar with the case, said at the time.
When county authorities took guardianship, Sara was separated from any decision-making for her husband’s health and medical welfare.
Terri Schiavo years earlier had an accident under suspicious circumstances and was left severely injured. She eventually died in 2005 when a judge in her case allowed a nursing home to prevent her from getting any food or hydration.
Months after her death by court-ordered dehydration, the Justice Department ordered an investigation of a complaint alleging discrimination against Terri Schiavo under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act.
The Justice Department’s Disability Rights Section directed the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct the probe, reported the Empire Journal, an Internet news site that has published numerous investigative stories on the Schiavo case.
Schiavo died at age 41 at Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., after her estranged husband, Michael Schiavo, obtained judicial approval to remove her nutrition and hydration.
The Schindlers had pleaded with their daughter’s husband to allow them to be with their daughter in her final hours, but according to family spokesmen, they were not present when she died.
Her case sparked an intense fight over euthanasia and the rights of the injured, but the Supreme Court turned down several opportunities to get involved.